Printed from the blog of Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Allegion
Email: lori_greene@allegion.com, Blog: www.idighardware.com or www.ihatehardware.com


Jan 03 2019

QQ: Field Painted Panic Hardware

Category: Panic Hardware,Quick QuestionLori @ 12:29 pm Comments (14)
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Every so often, someone asks me…

Can panic hardware be painted in the field without voiding the label? 

This may be because the finish has been damaged, or because they want to change the finish/color without investing thousands of dollars in new hardware.  I understand the motivation, but it’s a risky undertaking.

Panic hardware is a labeled product, certified to comply with UL 305 – Standard for Panic Hardware, BHMA A156.3 – Standard for Exit Devices, and if it’s fire exit hardware, UL 10C – Standard for Positive Pressure Fire Tests of Door Assemblies.  These products can not be modified in any way that would impact the listings.

While painting over the existing finish may seem like a pretty benign modification, it could affect the operation of the device…did you ever try to open an old window that had been painted shut?  Because there’s no way to know whether or not field painting would affect the performance of the panic hardware, the listing labs do not have an official protocol and as a manufacturer, we can’t authorize field painting.  It’s possible that an AHJ could approve it, but a painted finish is not likely to hold up well even if it doesn’t have a negative affect on egress.

For new applications where a custom color is desired, Von Duprin offers over 150 custom powder coat finishes as well as custom graphics (see page 9 of this pdf). 

~~~

UPDATE:  Several readers have asked me about the  white panic hardware on the white door in the photo above, and whether this is “readily distinguishable” as an egress door.  This opening was on one of my museum projects, along with grey panic hardware on a stainless steel door in a stainless steel elevator lobby.  I questioned it, but it was allowed by the AHJ.  I posted about it back in 2011…time flies when you’re having fun!

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14 Responses to “QQ: Field Painted Panic Hardware”

  1. Bryan says:

    I always find it comical that a factory thinks it is the only qualified painter in the world. I get the listing part, but there are other professionals in the world. There is enough “slop” in all of the moving parts of a VD 99 that a couple mils of paint won’t interfere with a thing.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Bryan –

      I don’t think anyone here thinks we’re the only qualified painters in the world, but a) there’s no way to know who would be painting the hardware, with what, and whether it will work right afterward, b) paint won’t stick very well over a plated finish or powder coat, and c) if the listing lab won’t authorize it, the manufacturer can’t either.

      – Lori

      • Bryan says:

        I did say “I get the listing part,”
        Perhaps I should have said, I’ve seen orders of magnitude greater issues with fire doors that don’t get tagged by: State fire marshals, local fire marshals, DOH, and the Joint Commission inspectors.
        So I doubt that a painted device would trigger their radar. The original train of thought took a siding.

        Then there are the local government buildings…
        deadbolts above exit devices being the most egregious.

    • Greg Perry says:

      Bryan, what if the painter decides to disassemble it and paint everything inside too? I hear you say that is absurd but I have seen one done like that. Would you stand behind a product you designed and manufactured that someone came along and modified? I’m certain you have seen some great modifications and some horrible ones that both modifiers were proud of, as they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The manufacturer has to CYA and only allow modifications within certain parameters, like cutting a bar to length. Just my two cents worth.

      • RR says:

        When you said the mfr. has to CYA, I thought the mfr. would want to cover his own backside, as in “CHA”…

  2. nitramnaed says:

    I’m willing to bet that this is in an art museum. At our local contemporary art center literally everything in the display areas are painted/finished white.

  3. Paul Anderson says:

    Bryan, a listing is much like a warranty on (say a new vehicle). They warrant the product within certain parameters and guidelines. Let’s say for instance you take a new 2019 truck you just bought and when the free oil changes run out that the dealer offered, you take it to one of those 5 minute oil change places and get the oil changed there using the top rated oil that the center provides. Guess what, you have now probably voided that warranty, and yes they do know what they are doing at the 5 minute place. The dealer doesn’t know that, and the oil is probably not what they specified for that vehicle. Not to mention that when the oil change place said it is recommended that you change the rear differential fluid and you chose not to, due to cost, the warranty is now definitely voided. It is all about what the manufacturer knows will hold up as opposed to what someone who didn’t manufacturer the product says that common sense says it should hold up. BTW, we just bought a new truck so we will be spending the extra money to maintain the warranty for sure. Just my 2 cents worth.

    • RR says:

      aka going to the “Stealership” to have the “LOF” (LOF is auto service trade speak for Lube. Oil, Filter)?
      Costs are high. I get it.. I just got a 2018 Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel, LOF’s are $95.00.. to say nothing of
      almost as frequent fuel filter changes.. $$$

  4. David Curis says:

    Another concern that I would have is that painting the hardware to blend with the door color makes it less recognizable during emergency egress situations. This is much like the many pictures that have been presented here with decorations on doors.

    • Lori says:

      Hi David –

      I just added a link to this blog post, which goes to an older post where I wrote about the visibility of the panic hardware. In the US, there isn’t a measurable amount of contrast that is required by a code or standard, so it’s a bit subjective. The white-on-white door was approved by the AHJ, and because it was a museum project there were many doors like that.

      – Lori

  5. Rich McKie says:

    In the past I have specified exit devices in finishes to match doors, and frankly have found that even the factory finish, 710 Duranodic Dark Bronze primarily,didn’t stand up and looked terrible after a couple of years of heavy use. Now I just order 630 or 626 and have fewer worries and complaints.
    As for painting hardware, the only parts I have painted (or would consider painting)are closer arms and covers that don’t get any handling.
    Mind you, I am an institutional locksmith where the prime concern is that the hardware works, not how it looks. In a previous life I specialized in hardware installations in high-end residential properties and that was a whole other ball game with various specialized finishes. I am so glad that I no longer have to explain to homeowners why the oil rubbed bronze finish on their very expensive hardware has worn to dull brass in a very short time.

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